Saturday, April 21, 2007

To everything, Turn, turn, turn....

To everything - turn, turn, turn, There is a season - turn, turn, turn, And a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep. ~The Byrds, Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)

....and a time for new furniture.

We had friends over to play yesterday, twice. It was lovely getting to spend time with two families that we enjoy. But when we have friends over I suddenly see my furniture. The leather couch and chair that loving husband chose in his bachelor days, and the awful beige recliner (also chosen by loving husband) that the cats used for a scratching post before we taught them to use the real scratching post. It doesn't help that lovely lady obsessively picks stuffing out of a hole she made in the arm and Poppy has been using the recliner handle as a teether. Bitter Apple spray took care of the chewing problem, but now the handle has puppy tooth marks to match the lovely cat scratches on the chair. Our dining table chair cushions are stained with hot chocolate and dinner spills. The tablecloth on the table is vinyl and has paint splatters and scissors holes left over from our art projects.

Not only that, but we've got yoga mats rolled in the corner, puppy toys on the floor, a dog crate in the corner of the living room stacked with old blankets and puppy treats, science projects on the buffet, and books and toys on the shelves.

When new friends come over, I look at my living room through their eyes, and I cringe, especially about the furniture. It looks awful. I think of the friends who have perfectly immaculate lovely neat homes with perfectly matching furniture, and I find my own living room suffers by comparison.

I know that this is the season of our lives when we have to choose our battles, especially with the more spirited of the ladies and gents. Do I want to choose furniture battles? Or do I wait until they've learned better habits and just enjoy the new furniture when we get it? Even if we could afford it, I'd rather not spend my time and energy worrying about keeping three busy boys and a puppy from chewing and spilling on new furniture.

I know that this is the season of our lives when our financial resources are meant to go toward other things-- home, lessons, broken windows, big boy beds, new shoes for feet that are constantly growing and new clothes for kids who are constantly spilling and falling and getting tall.

I know that this is the season of our lives when my energy is spent directing and teaching and organizing little people, who will get a far greater benefit from my attention than the furniture would anyway.

Someday there will be new furniture and big gents to remind, "Keep your gigantic teenaged feet off the couch." The puppy will be a dog, snoozing on the dog bed in the corner of the room and leaving our shoes and the furniture alone. I'll have time to sew cushion covers for the chairs even though they don't get spilled on any more. The ladies will be out building their lives, and the gents will sit still when they're home. The house will be quiet and I'll miss the days when we all had hot chocolate at the table and watched Peter Pan and My Friend Totoro in the evenings and Poppy was playful.

But still....the furniture bothers me. I'm sure that I judge my own self far more harshly than anyone else could. So I console myself with the idea of the turning seasons, and remind myself to count my blessings and wait patiently.

And we really are blessed, because this is also the season of our lives when we're meeting new friends who don't care about furniture. The kind of friends that you keep because you're brought together by similar philosophies, not by the ages of the children. Who have homes filled with toys, and who judge us by our hearts and not by how we decorate our homes. And it's the season of my own life when I don't tidy for guests any longer or try to hide the furniture with blankets. Our home is clean, everything has a place, and we pick up daily, but we live how we live. The science projects and the cat clawed chair, part of our life. Kind of like #5 on my list of things I never thought I'd be at forty, my home isn't perfect either. Go figure. But it's perfect for this season of our lives, and I love it anyway. I need to let go and trust that things will change when it's time for them to change. New furniture will come when we need it, just like wisdom....turn turn turn go the season of our lives. A time for every purpose under heaven.


living in PA said...

Cat, I loved this and it is all so true for me too...except the fact that we have no cats or dogs. ;-) I actually teared up (and some of the tears snuck out) when I was reading it. In part because I could feel the same things, in part because I want a new sofa so badly...the hole in it grows on a seemingly daily basis, in part because it makes me sad to think about my own kids growing up, in part because I'm so glad to call you my friend, and in part because I wish I lived closer to you!!

Cathy said...

I wish we were closer too! We could hang out on one another's holey furniture, lol.